Networking always works to help build your business – Post Bulletin

One of the things I’ve missed the most during the pandemic is getting together and networking. Networking is part of my DNA. The absence of cocktail parties, fundraisers, association meetings, etc. for the last two years it has been worrying for me, and I’m sure for many of you as well.

The first line of my book on networking, “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty,” is: “If I had to name the one characteristic shared by all the truly successful people I’ve ever met, they say it’s the ability to create and nurture a network of contacts”.

Networking is so important for business. In my entire career, I have never heard a successful person say that he regretted spending time and energy on his network.

Author Porter Gale said, “Your network is your net worth.”

Networking is not a numbers game. The idea is not to see how many people you can meet; the idea is to build a network of people you can count on.

For most people, networking is a learned behavior, like learning to swim. It’s a gradual process of trial and error, small incremental steps, and finally some progress.

If you want to practice, start with your family and your extended family and then your extended families. Your network is potentially the size of your contacts, plus all your relatives’ contacts, your friends’ contacts, your business associates’ contacts, and so on. I like to say that when two people exchange dollar bills, they each have only one dollar. However, when two people exchange networks, they each have two networks.

Four of the best groups I know of for networking are alumni clubs, industry associations, social clubs, and hobby groups. Some colleges have better alumni networks than others, but every school, even every high school, has an alumni club.

Business groups are happy hunting grounds for networking in all sorts of ways. In fact, I was recently at the Envelope Manufacturers Association spring meeting in my role as president of MackayMitchell Envelope Company.

Golf clubs, social clubs, and athletic clubs are extremely important parts of a person’s network. There are probably more deals closed in these locations than in all the offices in the country combined. (Okay, maybe not that many, but how else to justify the time and expense to our spouses and bosses?)

And hobbies have always been a great way to network across a wide and diverse spectrum, because hobbyists are often scattered all over the map and can be found in all incomes, ages, and social groups.

And if you haven’t mastered the incredible reach of the Internet, using sites like LinkedIn, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Of course, there is a Facebook group for every interest, including all aspects of the business. I have established international contacts that used to be accessible only through timely phone calls or trips abroad.

As the pandemic continues to recede, there are more opportunities to network in person. If you’re inexperienced or new to the whole networking thing, remember these basic tips to make a positive impression:

  • Be your authentic self. Don’t try to fake it when you meet someone for the first time. Smile, be friendly, and most of all, be yourself. Other people will respond to an open attitude.
  • Develop your story. Produce a short narrative for yourself, describing who you are and what you want to achieve in life. Keep it short and simple: You don’t want to overwhelm a new acquaintance with your life story, just give them a glimpse into your personality.
  • Go to the right people. Don’t try to establish a relationship with everyone you meet. Identify people in your industry who can help you with knowledge and insight, and who you can help too.
  • Do some homework. Before you go to a networking event like a happy hour or an industry conference, find out who will be there so you can plan your approach. Do you already know someone? Can a friend help you connect with someone new? To be prepared.
  • Stay open. While you may have an idea of ​​the kind of people you want to connect with, don’t write anyone off too quickly. Sometimes a person from a different industry has experiences or knowledge that may be valuable to you. Get to know people to assess if they deserve to stay in contact with them.

Mackay’s Moral: The more you exercise your networking muscles, the stronger they become and the easier networking becomes.

Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Swim With Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.” He can be contacted at

by email

or by writing to MackayMitchell Envelope Co., 2100 Elm St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414.

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